Monday, April 12, 2010

Taxes

This week I have the not-small matter of getting re-focused on all those things I put aside for the two weeks of the family visit. I had almost forgotten about "Persist." I have four speaking gigs lined up in the next ten days, and will need to rediscover the head-space in which those can happen with fluency and ease. I need to get back in gear with my other promotion efforts; aside from my plan to expand the reach of my speaking engagements, I want to do what I can to get the book onto bookstore shelves and promote online orders. There's much more that can be done.

Today, however--I'm thinking of this as my "first day back to work"--I have a visit to the CPA on my schedule, to get our taxes filed. I am usually prepared for this well in advance, but the job has been delayed this year by other commitments and the April 15 deadline looms. For me--perhaps because I grew up in a country where taxes took a much bigger bite out of income--it's not so much paying the taxes that's the annoyance, it's the work involved in preparing to pay them. It has always puzzled me that people in my country of adoption make such a fuss about paying their fair share and at the same time take all the benefits of government for granted. Would we all be happier, as libertarians seem to suggest, without the services that government alone can provide? Things like, you know, clean streets and trash disposal, highways and functioning transportation systems, education, police and fire departments, social security and now, finally, the beginnings of a health care system?

This all amounts, I suppose, to--gasp!--socialism, though we may not speak the word. The irony is that in America, we have come to expect the services of a socialist state without having to pay for them. Speaking for myself, I'm just surprised that I don't have to pay more. I would, indeed, be perfectly willing to do so, especially here in California, if it would only help improve our decaying education system. More education, it seems to me, would result in more capacity for critical thought, analysis, and understanding of the problems that we face. For now, we have nothing but denial.

Them's my thoughts on the matter. Even so, it is certainly a nuisance to have to put together all the financial records for the past twelve months and get them organized into some kind of meaningful order to present to the CPA. I am told that it's easier, these days, with such online aids as TurboTax, to do the work oneself; but I confess that I have never done it, and would not know where to start. I am meticulous in adding up the income--such as it is, and has been, in my days as a free-lancer!--and the work-related expenses; and because I have been lazy about it in the course of the year, I am confronted with a whole year's worth of stubs, credit card statements, and check book registers. I always promise myself that, next year, I'll do this right, and keep the records as the months go by, but I have never once kept that promise to myself, and end up in this familiar, unwelcome predicament. Next year, perhaps... Though it has already started badly.

I hope that my meeting later today will put the matter to rest, and that the resultant bill will not be too burdensome. After which... back to "Persist"!

4 comments:

CHI SPHERE said...

Ancient Rome declined because it had a Senate; now what's going to happen to us with both a Senate and a House? Will Rogers

Barack Obama says he will raise taxes on individuals and companies earning more than $250,000 per year. Some under that will see a break. Businesses with incomes over that level won’t shrug off the increase and absorb it. They will pass the added costs on to you and me. We will pay Obama’s tax. Our tax break will be gone in a flash. Individuals will do the same. They will charge more for their services and, again, we will pay. Increased taxes don’t trickle down; they gush down. In contrast, John McCain says he will keep tax levels about where they are. Vote accordingly. White Rabbit Cult

This country has come to feel the same when Congress is in session as when the baby gets hold of a hammer.
Will Rogers
US humorist & showman (1879 - 1935)

My all time favorites:

I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.

Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.

Rumor travels faster, but it don't stay put as long as truth.
Will Rogers

I grew up with Navajo cowboys in New Mexico and Will Rogers was their poet, mine too!

Anne STONE said...

Your post - as well as CHI SPHERE's comments - have brought a smile to my face! Thanks! And you've reminded me that I really must do something about getting my taxes filed, too, despite having an extra two months to send in my returns (since I live out of the country) although that extension doesn't apply to payments due.

I'll be holding good thoughts, Peter, for you to do well with your speaking engagements. I am sure you'll also get Persist into lots of bookstores and all over the Internet.

Happy Springtime.

Nancy Youdelman said...

Hello Peter,
I also chuckled when I read how you approach getting your taxes done--I pretty much do the same thing, all year I put receipts in a shopping bag,( art supplies, services for my art business), etc. etc. and then usually in February I dump the bag out on a big table and sort it, add up categories and then take it to my tax accountant who works his magic with it all.

Every year I think that I will find a more organized way than the shopping bag but actually it works quite well, it is all in the same place.

I don't think I would ever do the turbo tax thing because I love going to see my accountant, he is warm and friendly and very efficient. He gets all the numbers "crunched" properly and I am always happy with the result.

I enjoy reading your blog very much, I don't always comment but I always get something out of it.

Thanks!
Nancy

PeterAtLarge said...

Thanks Gary, Anne & Nancy. Always good to hear your thoughts, and to know that you stay with The Buddha Diaries!